This Predicts 2012 special report highlights how the control of technology and technology-driven decisions is shifting out of the hands of IT organizations. New forces that are not easily controlled by IT are pushing themselves to the forefront of IT spending. Specifically, the forces of cloud computing, social media and social networking, mobility and information management are all evolving at a rapid pace. Business unit stakeholders often recognize the value of new technology before IT departments can harness it. In addition, emerging markets are growing rapidly in terms of technology expenditures and influence. Growing technology use and energy consumption around the globe have led to an increased emphasis on green technologies and power conservation within IT industries.
These technological evolutions in the workplace are largely happening despite the controls IT normally places on the use of technologies. The cloud offers new delivery styles and options that are industrialized in a value chain that renders on-premises IT systems and expertise as only part of the overall delivery of IT capabilities to the company. Social computing is allowing collaboration, and a shift of behavioral patterns of users and the communities in which they work. Mobility offers new access channels to applications and data, and at the same time provides end users with a wide variety of device choices. The combination of cloud, social computing and mobility can be used to increase geographic diversity and raise the productivity of virtual teams. Users expect to get access to personal, work, business applications and data from any device, anytime and anywhere.
Finally, the concept of “big data” is beginning to forever alter the relationship of technology to information consumption, as data coming from multiple federated sources and in structured and unstructured forms must now be analyzed using new methodologies foreign to many IT departments. As in last year’s report, to top it all off, IT organizations must respond to all these demands while balancing security against access, and continuing to meet the expectations of individuals who are more technology-savvy than ever before.
This transformation will not desist, and it demands that IT leaders reconsider and (potentially) rebuild IT’s capabilities and approach to the consumption of IT. Our top predictions (see “Gartner’s Top Predictions for IT Organizations and Users, 2012 and Beyond: Control Slips Away” and “Top Industry Predicts 2012: Industries Face Intensified Consumerization and Technology Disruption”) focus on how the shifting role of IT will affect economies, governments, businesses and individuals.
Readers will find the predictions in this special report a good guide and support for the decisions they need to make about technology investments and the broader aspects of business strategy during the years ahead. With more topics, markets and industries covered than ever before, our 2012 predictions affect three macrolevel trends of huge importance to all:
- Emergence of the nexus of four forces: The convergence of cloud, social, mobile and information into a unified set of forces shaping almost every IT-related decision. Additional complexity comes from the need to support users and employees from any screen, as noted in “Predicts 2012: The Success of Consumer Devices Will Rest on Delivering the Ultimate Experience.” As IT organizations and business users evolve their strategies, they need to ask themselves how they will handle the nexus — whether in individual pieces, or as a unified phenomenon all of itself.
- IT spending: The movement of spending from the IT department to other parts of the business. Evaluating how to deal with the movement of IT spending out of the control of IT and more into the control of different business units, while retaining IT’s involvement in protecting the business from disruptive change.
- Market transformation: The transformation of entire markets brought on by new technology-based options. A clear trends exist toward the transformation of industries and technology markets in ways that do not happen very often. Readers will benefit from reading a wide selection of research that makes transformation a practical reality.
As the relationship between “technology means” and “technology outcomes” becomes ever clearer, stakeholders of all kinds are gaining a sharper understanding of how technology decisions will impact the business, and are raising the bar in terms of expectations for success.